Living in Montana I have learned something very quickly. As a resident of this state you have no say in presidential politics. At least until this year. With Hillary vowing to take this the distance both candidates have been spending a good deal of time in Montana. Barak Obama spoke here yesterday at a local high school. This morning the headline reads, "Obama Wows Em". http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2008/05/20/news/local/18-obama_s.txt
What strikes me there is the blatant opinion of the editor. Obama Wows Em. All of them? That is impressive. Surely this reporter didn't interview everyone at the event. Perhaps that one little statement isn't so bad. After all the whole point of that headline is to sell newspapers. Then I got into the body of the story where I found the following....
He got a standing ovation Monday for calling for more school, more homework and on a 70-degree day less than two weeks before graduation.- Not bad. This is a fact.
When he declared that no military veteran in America should ever be reduced to sleeping on the street in a cardboard box, the crowd roared as if they'd all, at some point, put cheek to concrete in exhaustion. - This is colorful, but presumptive.
Even when the boo birds booed, which they did when Obama evoked high oil prices and tax breaks for the rich, their catcalls flattered the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. - Translation. Obama can do no wrong.
With all that said, after the first 4 paragraphs the writer for the Billings Gazette was factual and striaght foreward. Not appearing to take sides. Problem is most readers don't get past the first few paragraphs of the story where things are wrapped up in a neat little bow.
This isn't the worst example of opinion creeping into journalism by any stretch. It occurs everywhere, Yes including fox news.
I attended a workshop at the Missouri School of Journalism where the professor told those in attendance that the reporter has the duty to explain for the reader/viewer whether the results of the story are good or bad for them. I couldn't disagree more. That statement encourages reporters to editorialize their work. This is supposed to be one of the best journalism schools in the country.
That statement works off the basis that readers/viewers are to stupid to understand the ramifications of the story. If it is complicated bring in experts to explain. That is not the job of a reporter.